Working from home can seem glamourous. You get to set your own work hours, take breaks when you need to, and you don’t even have to leave the house. But when you throw parenting into the mix, your workdays can become a little unpredictable. This can be a challenge, but once you learn to manage your time, it will get a whole lot easier. If you’re struggling to balance parenting and remote working, here are nine tips for work-from-home parents.
Create a Routine
Try and create a routine and get your kids familiarised with it straight away. This goes for a morning routine, mealtimes, chores, homework, naptime, playtime, and bedtime. Giving your kid’s lives some structure will teach them what to expect each day. You should also have your own routine. Use naptimes and an hour or two after bed to get things done around the house.
Get Up Early
Get up an hour earlier than everyone else. You may not want to, but it will give you much needed time to yourself and to get things done undisturbed. There’s nothing worse that waking up when everyone else does and having to rush to get yourself and your kids ready to start the day. That extra hour will give you the opportunity to wake up and have a cup of coffee, get showered and dressed, with extra time to check your schedule. You could even use this time to try and get some extra work done, so you’ll have more free time later in the day to spend with your kids.
You don’t have to spend the whole weekend preparing for every meal in the week. One or two days a week, cook slightly larger batches of bolognaise sauce, lasagne, curry, chili, stir fry, soup, and stew, then freeze them in batches. This will make cooking dinner later in the week much quicker, and you can pull them out the night before to give to the kids for lunch during half term.
If you have meetings while the kids are at home, make sure you have activities planned to keep them busy. You could put on a movie for them to watch while you send out emails, or if you need a bit of quiet time, get out some colouring books or a few puzzles. Encourage independent play, so they learn to have fun and keep themselves occupied for a little while.
Everyone needs downtime, including you. I’m not just talking about taking regular breaks from work to stretch your legs or leaving the dishes until the next day. You can’t do everything all at once. Between work, housework, and kids, there’s no time for you. If you can’t afford a babysitter, ask a family member if they will watch the kids for a few hours so you can go out or so you can take a nap. Don’t be ashamed of wanting to take time off for yourself. You matter too.
Set Aside Quality Time
Whether you live in a rural town like the ones on this website or in a big city, try to plan some days out once you’ve finished work so you can spend some quality time with your kids. You should also try to spend some quality time with your other half and do something nice for each other. Click here for more ideas on thoughtful gifts you can give to your spouse.
You need to prioritise work and things that need to be done at home. Take advantage of the time the kids are in school or at day care by getting the most important work done. This is also a good time to schedule in conference calls and to learn more about how you can prepare your business for a great next quarter. When you take your first coffee break, throw in a load of laundry. At lunch, put the laundry in the dryer.
Be prepared for not everything to go to plan. You can be as organised as possible, but when it comes to having kids and balancing a work-home life, there are bound to be some interruptions to your schedule. Whether you have to pick up your sick kid from school early or your call gets interrupted by a toddler needing the toilet, understand that these things are inevitable. Try and be flexible with your schedule and try not to fit too many things into one day.
Don’t Give Yourself a Hard Time
Don’t beat yourself up just because you didn’t get everything done that you wanted to. Being a work from home parent is hard, so you should be proud of your achievements. You’re only human after all!
Image Credits: EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA